Back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roomed the prairies, we had a collection of stories by Ethel Barret on a vinyl record. One of the stories was about Buzz the Bee who made a wrong turn and ended up in a house on a windowpane. Two children discovered the Buzz and made the observation, “He’s a worker bee.” The children opened the window, let Buzz out and he returned to the hive. However, on his return, a cloud hung over his head — he was just a worker who had to carry out the wishes of the Queen. He called the other workers together and explained how miserable their lot was as workers. Buzz couldn’t get a consensus of opinion on how they were to change their status as workers. Everyone thought their idea was right and they wouldn’t accept Buzz’s leadership. Poor Buzz was left alone, frustrated with the fact that he was still a worker.
Unfortunately, Buzz has a lot of companions in the workforce. Surveys suggest that over 80% of the workforce are dissatisfied workers. Rather than focusonthe80%whoaredissatisfied, I would like to explore the qualities that distinguish those who find fulfillment in their work and leave a legacy of good.
Their Personal Values
They have a positive attitude toward life. They are not obscurantists who live in a fantasy world of “no problems,” but rather see obstacles as opportunities to develop creativity, embrace perseverance and emerge as overcomers.
These people are motivated and goal orientated. They are purpose-focused not pleasure-driven.
Furthermore, they concentrate on character. They believe that good character is of higher value than great riches. They know that wealth gets left behind, but character goes with them beyond the grave.
They Are Decision Makers
A decision maker is a person who is willing to accept responsibility for the outcome of the choices that he/she makes. They are not afraid to admit they don’t know and consequently will ask questions, seek counsel and gain the wisdom of others. They bring flexibility, creativity and reasonableness to their objective judgments.
They Have The Ability To Relate To People
They are secure in who they are, and this enables them to build relationships without the need for defensiveness, control or domination.
They look for the gold in the rock. In other words, they don’t focus on the negative aspects of a person, they look for the quality that is on the flip side. For example, they see the perseverance that is driving the stubbornness. Every person has inherent value that is invested in them by their Creator.
They see others as complementarians not competitors. Complementation builds a strong team whereas competition divides a team.
They Are Good Communicators
Good communication starts with good listening. They listen with a view to understanding not answering.
Many of us are formulating an answer before the other person is finished speaking.
Defensiveness sabotages good communication. The natural reaction of most of us is to defend ourselves. The fact is every person’s way is right in their own eyes. Rather than producing a counter argument, try exploring the reasons behind the other person’s evaluation of your behavior.
The person who is secure in who they are and what they are doing is more able to explore the possibility of growth in the criticism or correction that is given. The person who is insecure sees criticism or correction as an attack on their value, significance and competence.
Task Related Skills
A good worker knows how to live within the boundaries of time. Our creative skills are sharpened when we learn how to adapt our abilities to the time allocated for the task. If you fight against the boundary of time you will limit your creativity and reduce your productivity. If you are convinced that the timeframe allocated will lessen the quality of the product then take your appeal to the authority to whom you are accountable.
Be careful to follow the directions that are given. Do not make changes without approval. I could give illustrations where the worker has brought his creativity to the task only to have the customer complain, “That is not what I wanted!”
Steward tools and material as if they were your own. A good worker knows that well-maintained tools and an orderly work environment increases effectiveness. Time invested in maintenance pays dividends in profit.
Demonstrate Your Commitment to the Job
When I say job, I am referring to something larger than the task at hand. I asked a group of employees who worked for a tire company to define their job. Most of them gave me task related answers. Their job was much more than the task definitions that they gave. They were part of an industry for the safe transfer of people and goods. The right tire, installed the right way made a significant contribution to the growth of any community.
To sum things up: be reliable, dependable, responsible, punctual and above all clothe yourself with courtesy and kindness. Break out of the ranks of dissatisfied workers and we’ll see you at the top.